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Thread: U.S.A. Culture and Language Help - II

  1. #111
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    Hi Ariana!

    Those are indeed areas of history that are covered quite exhaustively. We also tend to study (at least in my part of the country) the pioneer/homesteading days, starting just before the civil war and going on past the turn of the century. Of course, people like Daniel Boone and Lewis & Clark were exploring before then, bur the exodus didn't really start for a while.

    Also, I spent most of a year of history class learning about Native Americans and the impact that European settlers had on them.

    Also, starting very early, we take about a week each March and discuss the Holocaust. For example, I first watched a movie adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank at ten or eleven, and I had read the actual diary before that. (Most kids didn't.)

    That's not to say we learned about World War II; I was fourteen before I found out who Winston Churchill was through an independent project. However, getting into high school, we did cover the World Wars, Prohibition, all that (though strangely we never got past about 1950), but none of that was beaten into our heads the same way as some of the subjects I listed above, which is what I think you're looking for.

    I am only speaking from my own experiences, of course, but I hope it helps!

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  2. #112
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    Could you please tell me what American history is mostly studied in schools? I suspected that it might be:

    Early Colonisation

    War of Independence

    Civil War

    but is there anything else, for example I studied the the working conditions of the Victorian poor very often from a very young age. Do you learn much about pre-colonisation history and are there any parts of history that are often repeatedly studied?

    Thank you very much.
    In my elementry school, (kindergarten through fifth grade) we didn't call it history. We had Social Studies, which covered history, geography, and some other random stuff like discrimination. I remember we studied colonialism and the revolutionary war quite exhastively. George Washington and the other Founding Fathers were a very popular topic. We must have done it every year. We also studied Abraham Lincoln, and a bit about the civil war. We studied discrimination, but it wasn't a very in-depth thing. (I remember it because the way the teachers decided to teach us about discrimination was by discriminating. All the desks were arranged in groups of five, and each group had to make a poster to enter in a contest. Two groups got all the markers and help they could want, but my group and another group got only one marker, and then they judged the posters by how colorful they were. I suppose it was an effective method, because I still remember it, but I was not at all happy at the time.)

    In middle school (6th-8th grades) we got more in depth, but it was still called social studies. In 6th grade, we studied ancient civilization-- Ancient Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia... I made a clay Sphinx. I was very proud of it. In seventh grade, we had geography. We memorized the locations of all the states and what their capitals were. We also memeorized the locations of the European countries, South American countries, and Central American countries. We studied the location of Canada's provinces. I don't remember what else we studied. I had a bad teacher. In eighth grade, we had American history. We studied colonialization, the revolutionary war, (again), the War of 1812, the Civil War, Native American mistreatment, settling of the west, the Louisiana Purchase, Abraham Lincoln, The emancipation proclamation, and maybe a couple other things I don't remember. Amazingly enough, I don't think we studied either World War or the Great Depression. I put that down to a really horrible teacher who couldn't stick to his syllabus, however.

    In high school (grades 9-12), they are really much more serious about social studies. In ninth grade, I had government, so we studied the constitution and the different branches of government, as well as various Supreme Court cases and Constitutional Amendments. In tenth grade, we had History, not Social Studies, at last. We had two options-- AP (Advanced Placement) US History, or Contemporary US History. AP US History (APUSH) studied everything, EVERYTHING, from Christopher Columbus up to present day. It was a kind of frantic cram-as-much-information-into-one-year-as-is-possible, because at the end of the year you took the AP test, and passing meant possible college credit. in Contemporary US History, there was no college credit option and no AP test, so the pace was much less frantic. That course began with the 1920s, and spent quite a good deal of time on everything from there on out. CUSH did not cover World War I because the students began studying in the 1920s. APUSH covered EVERYTHING. In 11th grade (junior year), the options were AP European History, IB European History HL, and General Level World History of some sort. AP Euro is a one year course where students scramble to learn as much as possible in one year so they can pass the test. IB Euro HL is a two year course that covers everything in more depth than AP Euro. I know almost nothing about the world history course except that it's supposed to be incredibly easy. I didn't even look into it because of the simplicity of the course. Seniors (12th graders) usually will take some sort of social studies elective, unless they want an open hour or are in IB Euro HL, in which case, they simply take the second year of that. AP Psychology is a common elective.

    Not being in college yet, I'm afraid I cannot give much insight to the history programs there.
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  3. #113
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    I am American, but I wanted other people's opinions on this. How feasible would it be for a Muggleborn to go to a magical boarding school in present day America and no one questioning it?
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  4. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost_Robin View Post
    I am American, but I wanted other people's opinions on this. How feasible would it be for a Muggleborn to go to a magical boarding school in present day America and no one questioning it?
    Well, there are lots of well-regarded boarding schools in the US, so it would be pretty easy for them to say they're going to a Muggle boarding school while actually attending a magical one. I can think of at least six or seven people I know who attended boarding school. I'm sure it's more popular in certain socioeconomic backgrounds and locations (I grew up in a fairly affluent community in New England), but it's not unheard of. Most boarding schools seem to start at the high-school level, though, so if your character is going at age 11 it might be slightly more suspicious.
    Eliza

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    It's a magical high school. And thank you!
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  6. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost_Robin View Post
    It's a magical high school. And thank you!
    *facepalm* I just realized I mistyped "magical" as "Muggle." Isn't it great when a typo completely changes the meaning of your statement? I just fixed it.
    Eliza

  7. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
    Could you please tell me what American history is mostly studied in schools? I suspected that it might be:

    Early Colonisation

    War of Independence

    Civil War


    but is there anything else, for example I studied the the working conditions of the Victorian poor very often from a very young age. Do you learn much about pre-colonisation history and are there any parts of history that are often repeatedly studied?

    Thank you very much.
    To answer your question in short, I believe studying pre-colonial history, that is to say, American Indian history, depends on your area. We did a fair amount of it, but I'm from a very liberal urban city, so it would be somewhat absurd not to. In fact, we had a teacher apologize for not being able to spend sufficient time studying American Indian history, and we discussed the reasons that their history gets the short stick.

    Certainly, we spend a lot of time on colonial history, the War of Independence, and the Civil War, those would be the big highlights of American history. I wouldn't be surprised if people also spent a fair amount of time on homesteading, and the movement west. We also spend a fair amount of time on the 20th century: WWI, WWII, the Civil Rights Movement.

    To give excruciating detail:

    As others have pointed out, before college, history is taught as Social Studies, so hand in hand with geography and other related subjects. At my high school, things like Economics and Psychology were also part of this department (though separate classes).

    In elementary school, we got local history: San Francisco history and California history and geography, in addition to national history. I don't remember a whole lot about what kind of national history we studied, though I'm certain we must have covered the some colonial history, the war of independence, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement (1960s).

    In middle school (6th-8th, where I'm at), we studied the ancient world, the 'modern' world (that is to say, everything past "ancient"), and then US history in more detail starting again, from pre-colonial to the 20th century, probably ending around the Civil Rights Movement (my eighth grade history teacher was fairly terrible.)

    Where I'm at, in high school, social studies is structured thusly:

    9th grade: Modern World History
    10th grade: No requirement (this is when you take AP Euro or AP World normally!)
    11th grade: United States History
    12th grade: Economics and Government

    The amount of US history you get in high school, therefore depends on what kind you take: normal, honors or AP. AP, Advanced Placement, is for college credit if you do well enough on the test at the end of the year. I took AP, so we cover everything. We were not allowed to skip anything, we studied William Henry Harrison's campaign, we studied Standard Oil, we studied all kinds of stuff.

    I think "normal" US picked up after the Civil War, and continued on to the 20th century. I'm not sure about honors, but I think they also did not quite do as much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Robin
    I am American, but I wanted other people's opinions on this. How feasible would it be for a Muggleborn to go to a magical boarding school in present day America and no one questioning it?
    It depends on how rich the Muggleborn's neighborhood is. But, I would probably say that people would question it.

    There are boarding schools in the US - Philips Exeter jumps to mind - but there aren't many. Exeter also has a day school option, so not everyone boards. Their main rival, Phillips Andover also has a mixture of boarding and day students.

    I hadn't even heard of American boarding schools until I entered university. As far as I know, it's a phenomenon that is limited to the east coast (Exeter's in New Hampshire, Andover's in Massachusetts) and either the very wealthy and classy or those who strive to be part of that class.

    In a neighborhood where a bunch of people end up going to Exeter or Andover or other similar schools, it would probably be more strange that it was a boarding school no one had heard of... so they would still question where it is, what kind of school it is, why hadn't they heard of it, etc. There's only so many in the US, and with the advent of the Internet, the first thing people would try to do is look it up online. When they couldn't find it (unless the magical school is brilliant enough to come up with a fake web site for just this purpose...) they would still be baffled.

    Anywhere else, I think people would be baffled. They would wonder who can afford a boarding school, and where it is, and if they are scholarships if they should send their kids, etc. I don't know anyone who's gone to a boarding school. Some of the private day schools here already cost upwards of 20k a year, who can afford to send their kid to a boarding school? I suppose they have scholarships, but still. It's wildly expensive.

    Edit:

    Oops, didn't see the other post. That's what I get for writing a monster of a post.

    I think it boils down to neighborhood. If other people board at Muggle places, then it wouldn't be that strange (beyond where is this school and why haven't we heard of it?), and if they don't, then it would be strange.
    Last edited by AidaLuthien; 08-24-2012 at 09:04 PM.
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  8. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by AidaLuthien View Post

    In a neighborhood where a bunch of people end up going to Exeter or Andover or other similar schools, it would probably be more strange that it was a boarding school no one had heard of... so they would still question where it is, what kind of school it is, why hadn't they heard of it, etc. There's only so many in the US, and with the advent of the Internet, the first thing people would try to do is look it up online. When they couldn't find it (unless the magical school is brilliant enough to come up with a fake web site for just this purpose...) they would still be baffled.
    This is a really good point. It complicates things, but I think there are definite ways around it.
    Possible options:
    1. Is your character a troublemaker? You could always go the military school route.
    2. Maybe your character could say he/she is going to school abroad, where they're less likely to know fellow classmates? Going to school abroad isn't super common either, but there are definitely people who go on exchanges and things like that during high school.
    3. Boarding school doesn't have to be the only excuse. Maybe the character could say he/she is going to live with relatives and will be attending school there.
    Eliza

  9. #119
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    A lot of people have been answering Ariana's question, but I want to help further.

    Like said before, where you live in America really depends on what you learn and how rigorous it is. Aida mentioned AP classes, but in some areas AP classes are mandatory, and in others they are optional. Some schools force their students to take the AP exam, where some do not. And as for U.S history, I found that we covered things really fast! (I was in AP) But some schools never get past halfway through te textbook while others may get through the entire book. This may be common in other countries, too, but I just wanted to clarify that. At my school, we always finished the textbook, and we covered not only early colonization and the civil war and revolutionary war, but we also covered the creation of our government in depth, and at my school, we had to memorize eras of time and what presidents were in those eras, and their accomplishments for a huge end of the year test. If you want to cover anything in your story, try to avoid sensitive issues- like the treatment of the Native Americans over te ears, because , as always happens, historians disagree on just who is at fault for what. You might talk of the Trail of Tears, but I would avoid any real battles, and also judgements, unless the teacher is particularly judgmental, which I know some teachers are and can't resist giving their opinions! We also covered the 1920s in depth!
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  10. #120
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    I'm going to have them have a fake website. I don't know anyone who goes to boarding school, but if kids can go to Hogwarts without any problems, then American kids can too. Thank you all for the advice.
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